Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something To Declare - Not For The Squeamish


Every area of employment must have it's own career related horror stories. You know, the sort of niche/job specific, urban myths, late night legends or even occasionally true tales that are related and reheated with shifty whispers and knowing nods.

In a former life I was a low-level civil servant working in the Train-The-Trainers department of Customs and Excise, where most of the senior staff, trainers or managers had served some sort of stretch in The Field being based at ports, airports or the Investigations Division (C&E's equivalent of The Sweeney) keeping a stealthy eye out for smugglers, stuffers and swallowers. A few of the tales told at leaving dos or seasonal drink-ups included...

A manager I worked under, who had previously been based at Dover (in the pre H & S 80s) was regularly required to carry out strip searches on any pulled-in suspects. His cut-off point came at lifting their 'old fella' with a ruler. If he hadn't found anything by then - they could keep it.

Part of the training for new field staff included role-play strip searches on volunteers (usually the same over-fifties volunteers everytime). I say role play but the searchees were completely starkers during the searches, with one of the ladies stow-it-away specialisms including tucking a pencil under the folds of her heavyset chest, where it usually stayed undiscovered everytime.

Now this one may be a shaggy dog story, but, I only heard it once while at Customs, and have never heard variations or re-tellings of it since - so you never know.

Medics became a legal requirement at strip searches after an incident where, a thread was spotted trailing party popper style from a suspects Parsons Nose. The over-zealous Customs Officer taking it as the sure-fire sign of a 'stuffer' grabbed the cotton whipping it out with the force of someone starting an outboard motor. The suspect collapsed concertina-style as the thread had been the tail end of internal stitches..

I could add intestines being sucked into aeroplane loos, clear perspex toilets to collect swallowers deposits, an overpowering lack of personal hygiene employed by stuffers to put people off the scent - literally. But perhaps I'll save those treats for next time..

Enjoy your lunch

15 comments:

Keith said...

And I thought I had a hideous job. Yikes! lol

lil said...

Eeeeewww… Nasty!

My work stories are more along the lines of; "Naughty stuff" going on?

Planet Mondo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Planet Mondo said...

What is it you do when you're not blogging then Keith?

Yes I remember that Lil - phew, the things people get up to !!

Ishouldbeworking said...

I heard that story, and quite possibly from the same original source. I think it's true!

bleecher said...

nice post ... theres a not the nine o'clock news sketch where they do a strip search and mel smith (via clever camera angles) remover ever lager and sillier items from rowen atcinson ... eeerrr .... rear cavity end witha tripod and a portable TV...cant find it on you tube tho... so maybe i just dreamed it?

im off to the doctors i think................

Planet Mondo said...

ISB - who did you hear it from - the ripper or the ripped *shudders*?

Don't remember that Bleech - must've been some nutty dream *backs slowly away*

Cocktails said...

I think that just an interesting job is volunteering for 'role-play strip searches'. Imagine answering that inevitable 'so what do you do for a living?' question at parties.

The woman with the 'stow- it-away' specialism reminds me of a tale from a friend of mind. When she was a student doctor she had to listen to the heart of a rather large patient. Finding the patients chest took some doing and along the way she found lots of other things tucked away underneath - that area is a useful storage space it seems...

Ishouldbeworking said...

I heard it from the man who claimed to have been strip-searched in the next room. He (my friend) was an Irish bloke who not only happened to have the same family name as a leading IRA suspect, he also looked exactly like a photofit of a leading IRA suspect. He got strip searched virtually every time he went home to Belfast to see his Mum.

The unlucky recipient of Inspector Ripper's Tender Touch was apparently also a young Irish bloke, who'd caught piles from sitting on a tractor for hours on end, and had had a recent 're-bore' done. Still, it MIGHT have been Semtex, eh?

Planet Mondo said...

Cocktails - I couldn't get my head round the mentality of the lot the were happily prodded, pocked, pawed (in the buff) and then got togged up, and popped back to the office in the room next door as if nothing had happened.

I used to go out with a nurse - she had some terrible tales.

That's got to be it then ISB - Customs could only have made that heavy-handed mistake once

Furtheron said...

Thanks for that...

Once I was coming back through Sheerness, we'd been on a "tour" of Germany - well two gigs. We were a 12 piece jazz band. We were pulled and searched. Luckily not strip searched - however the copious amount of condoms in one of the sax players cases drew many raised eyebrows from the officers. She was a very sweet looking girl as well :-) Then the bass player looks at the guy searching and says "She's going out with the drummer" as if that was a clear explanation for 100 plus condoms... I've still no idea why she had so many.... ho yes - she was going out with the drummer :-)

Planet Mondo said...

Whoops - it was quite common for female Custom's Officers who asked "anything to declare" to have some joker plop his old fella out on the table...they'd seen it so many times it usually never raised an eyebrow..

Piley said...

I have one thing to say... Official Secrets Act??!!

you wont believe this, but I was telling the story of the lady with the handy boobs with storage space within the last week... yet hadnt thought of it until then for 10 ears or so!

Matthew Rudd said...

"Have a nice day at the orifice"

"Talk about working your way up..."

Etc.

Five-Centres said...

That's completely gross. Where do I sign?